Sun Odyssey 37 "Paramour"
This is our first season with the boat and we truely love her. We have had many other types before like Catalina 34,Pacific Seacraft DANA, Tartan 3500. Even though the SO 37 is priced like an average boat, it really is much more than that. The contruction is similar quality to Pacific Seacraft''s, performance is very close to the Tartan''s, but it''s priced like a Catalina. Everything is laid out practicly along with loads of storage space which all of my previous boats lacked. When you look at the outside of her it''s so hard to believe how much room there can be inside.
I had a sort of semi-custom thing done with the hull ports. I ordered from the factory all of the fixed hull ports available which is 5. Then I had my dealer swap out 4 ( 2 in fwd cabin, 2 in main ) and replace with opening ones thay ordered from the factory since the factory would not. The quality and strength of the opening type are better than the fixed in my opinion. As for the improved ventilation while at rest is unbelievable.
We also had a custom dodger/full cockpit enclosure made which turned out perfect. I have never seen a boat that blends such a perfect group of qualities.
Steve & Debi Buerger
SECOND SEASON UPDATE:
I have a 2002 Sun Odyssey 37 and have owned others which you also mentioned.
We have a custom complete cockpit enclosure that now we are used to and could not
be without on any boat. Not only does it protect us from the weather but also the
nasty lake flies you encounter on Lake Michigan.
Previously I have had a 1997 Catalina 34 MKII which I purchased new in 1996
and its very close to the 36 only a little better performer from what I'm told.
Generally the Catalina was very nice, however, construction wise it truely is not in
the same league as our Jeanneau. It was common for us to experience "Oil Canning" in
conditions of 4 footers or more but did not effect the handling at all. But going
below in anything more than 2 or 3 footers the boat made a lot of noise, creaking, squeaking.
Not only did you hear these noises but you could actually see the main bulkhead
moving & shifting when it got up in the 6's & higher. At some point the bulkhead must have
shifted for good because when I went to close the bi-fold door to the forward cabin, it would
not close all the way. It seemed somehow that the opening became smaller or the 2
pieces that make up the door became larger. There was no longer enough space to open &
lock out the hinges which connect both pieces of the door. Another concern was the
amount of crazing in the gelcoat along the hull to deck points. While crazing is not
a structual problem in itself, large amounts often indicate there may be too much
structual flexing going on which I suspect was our problem. Catalina does a great job of
producing attractive, comfortable boats for a fair price.
We also owned a Tartan 3500 that was a 1996 model we bought used in 1999.
That was a great boat and handled like a Ferrari and was solid as well. Back then the
3500 was built the old fashioned way, glass & balsa core with the bulkheads and other
interior joints glassed to the hull. While it was a little lighter due to the balsa
coring she was very stiff and quiet below. Although I know since they re-tooled that
model a few years ago they went to the liner/pan type similar to Catalina and raised the
prices for that, I don't get it ? The one thing the 3500 lacked was storage, very little cabin
storage and almost non existant in the cockpit what so ever.
Now for the Jeanneau SO37 we currently have & love pretty much everything
about. It's built the old Tried & True hand layup all glass with a little Kevlar in
the bow section, with bulkheads and other major furniture GLASSED to the hull.
Not only that but there are a couple of treated wood stringers that run the
whole length of the hull. These also make great support bases for some of the interior
furniture & shelves. After 2 seasons in all different conditions I can honestly say
this is the strongest boat I have sailed yet and it's not a slug by any means. In 6
- 8 footers its quieter below than on deck, there is no noise at all except the sound of
the wind & waves. It's built like a tank but at a moderate dispacement and
handles very well. The doors, fiddles , lockers are all very solid and simply designed,
far better than the Catalina or Tartan in that respect. Access to all of the systems
is great and most of all the layout is fantastic. Basic but practical and a lot of room
for 37 feet and storage in our 2 cabin model is unbelievable. Both interior storage and
cockpit type is great, a shallow but still good size cockpit locker to starboard and a
huge 6 ft. plus deep one to port. I show people these lockers and they can't believe
it since from the outside it has such a modern,sleek appearance.
Performance wise she is a probably a little faster upwind than the Catalina
but points similar, but off the wind is faster by far over both the Catalina and the
Tartan. With following seas she's far better as well, have not expierenced any
squirrly habits that usually accompany them.
Just Our Honest Opinion,
Steve & Debi Buerger "Paramour"